First Month Productivity = 100%

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve updated about my semester but I’m back to prove that I’m actually learning things! A lot has happened since the last post, so let’s just get right into it.

Production I

The first project is fully complete and done. We got our game, Beat Your Meat Simulator, into a basic playable prototype, complete with beautiful art and the most major of mechanics. Units can move, attack, knock each other around, and move while on conveyor belts. The multiple ammo types, crates, and hazards did not get in, unfortunately, but if we had been given another week I’m sure we could have been close to finishing a full build. You can see the game below.

As for now, production is already underway for our second project. The teams were switched up, and this time we had to make an educational game for 1st-3rd graders to inform them about an underrepresented group. Our group decided on Everybody Fits In, a Tangrams-style puzzle game that will be used as a teaching tool to explain Autism to students. There will be short slides before levels introducing a character that’s on the spectrum, and then the student will have to complete a puzzle of fitting all of the student pieces onto a board, showing them that while it may be difficult to work around a child on the spectrum sometimes, it’s actually very simple to be one complete unit in the end. I’ll have more pictures and gameplay of the game later on, as we’re in the very rough alpha stages of development.

Level Design

Level Design has been going mostly well so far. After the simple project of just making a level, we were given a few weeks to create an entire game’s worth of levels, but each student in the class handled a different level. This allowed us to research our subject matter and tailor our level’s challenges in accordance to the other levels around us. We learned more about dramatic tension and gameplay tension and how to utilize them, and in the end our full game seemed pretty good.

The game took place on the various pieces of a computer, like the CPU, RAM, and hard drives. I was tasked with the BIOS, the first level of the game. The BIOS is the part of the machine that starts up with the computer’s boot process and makes sure everything in the computer is in place and ready to run. My level was fairly simple, and just introduced the player to the main mechanics of running, jumping, and destroying and replacing “firmware” in order to open doors and such. the second half of the level has the player individually starting up the RAM, drives, and CPU of the computer, just like the BIOS would do. Below is a diagram of the level.


Game Architecture

A lot has been going on in Game Architecture, and I’m enjoying it. Beyond learning good programming patterns and behaviors, we’ve spent the last couple weeks continuously adding to a project and implementing new functions and classes. We started by just displaying some images and sprites on a screen, then implemented a 60FPS game loop, animations, and keyboard/mouse input to let you move a player character around and change their animation speed and sprite set. Finally, this week we had to create a global Game object to hold the game (that wasn’t a singleton) and add manager classes to take control over the buffers and units that we were adding (oh yeah, we also had to make it so we could create and delete units with mouse clicks).

This upcoming week is pretty simple, we’re just implementing the Event system that’s built into Allegro into our current project, which shouldn’t be too bad since I toyed around with it last week.

Modern Graphics Programming

My final update today involves my Modern Graphics Programming class, which has gotten pretty hard over the last couple weeks! We’ve learned how to make shapes, how to use interpolation, how to mix layers, and we’re just getting into kernels and filters right now. It’s really exciting stuff, but it’s pretty hard to show off what we’re doing right now. I’ll add some pictures below, but they’re super simple!

That’s it for this update! See you again soon!

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